Short-Change Problem Sweeps Pune

Tender Exact Money At Petrol Pumps
Overnight, petrol pumps became note exchange centres with citizens thrusting Rs 500 and Rs1,000 notes into the attendants’ hands and demanding the change after refuelling for Rs 50 or Rs 100. The tense situation at some fuel stations sent alarm bells ringing right up to the collectorate.District collector Saurabh Rao on Wednesday directed establishments under the Essential Commodities Act, including petrol pumps, to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes till November 11 midnight with a rider that no change will be given at the fuel stations.

A meeting conducted for petrol pump dealers, oil companies, LPG dealers, hospitals and pharmacists to ensure that no essential commodities are affected decided to provide poli ce protection to 45 petrol pumps. Rao said citizens should not treat petrol pumps as “note exchange centres“.

There were long queues at the 300-odd petrol pumps in the city to fuel and to get change for the high denomination notes.Rao said a message has been sent on the cable network thro ugh the entertainment department. “We want to ensure that there is no problem in accepting this cash till November 11 midnight. No essential commodities should be affected. Petrol pumps, hospitals, medical shops, ticketing services of bus, train and even airfare should accept the old notes till this da te,“ a note by the collector said.

Spokesperson of Pune Petrol Dealers’ Association Ali Daruwalla said, “Nearly 80% of the citizens who rushed to the petrol pumps filled fuel for Rs 50 or Rs 100 and gave Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 and demanded change.While it was done through the night and right up to early mor ning, almost all the petrol pump owners ran out of change. At some places, we had to turn away people if they did not fill up for the cash offered.” At Shinde Petrol pump in Bavdhan employees were targeted. “We do not have any change. This has angered our customers. Employees were given directions to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, but when customers started arguing, we informed the police,” manager Vikas Chougule, manager of the petrol pump, said. Assistant inspector of Hinjewadi police station Amit Dolas told TOI that he had deployed his men at the petrol pump.

A petrol pump in Warje closed its operations in the afternoon as they were unsure about the directives being applicable to private company pumps.

Radhika Gokhale from Kalyaninagar said she needed two litres of fuel and paid Rs 500, but was refused the change. Rajeev Ghadge from Koregaon Park said he was asked to fill up for the amount he had given and not demand any change.

Petrol pump owner Neeta Lodha had to rope in her family members. “It was difficult to deal with the huge rush and family members pitched to calm down some customers who argued over the change,”she said.There are 550 petrol pumps in Pune with 350 in the city and 200 in rural areas.

Sahil Kedari, a petrol pump owner from Wanowrie, said there was unnecessary panic.“I was handing over change till late last night, but I ran out of it in the morning. We put up boards telling people to fill petrol worth the amount they were paying. But many who had fuel in their vehicles were rushing to pumps for change. We told fourwheeler owners to refuel for Rs 500 or Rs 1,000,“ he added.

College student Anubha Charan said she had to fill up for Rs 500 even though the capacity was for Rs 300.

A petrol pump employee said some fought with them, but many were accommodating.

A person who offered Rs 500, filled fuel worth Rs 300 in his vehicle and two others after him refuelled for Rs 100 each, and agreed to adjust.

Source : TOI